Updated: Feb 5
In Matthew’s Gospel, in his twelfth chapter, he wrote of the early ministry of Jesus and the recognition he received, both from followers and those who questioned his abilities. His ministry was underway and his twelve disciples had been given “authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” (Matthew 10:1) Chapter twelve then tells of Jesus being the Lord of the Sabbath, quoting Isaiah’s words about being the servant chosen by God (Isaiah 42:1-4). Jesus had entered a synagogue and preached and healed, while the leaders thought only one of Beelzebub could have such effect on God’s day. Jesus called them a “brood of vipers,” and then he told them how the Gentiles of Assyria (“men of Nineveh”) benefited from believing a prophet of the Lord they did not worship, when Jonah was sent to warn them. Jesus said he was a greater prophet than Jonah, yet he was rejected by those who claimed to worship the same Yahweh. Therefore, just as Nineveh later was destroyed by their return to wicked ways, from denying another prophet of the Lord, the same fate would come to the house of Jerusalem.
At the end of Matthew’s chapter twelve is told how there were people outside the synagogue. The presumption is that the synagogue was so packed with Jews on the Sabbath that a crowd was surrounding the entrance. It was in that outer crowd that word came to Jesus that his family was calling for him outside. The Scripture of that element of chapter twelve states (NIV):
“While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”’ (Matthew 12:46-50)
Now, this story is also told in Luke’s Gospel, without the context of Matthew making it clear that Jesus was inside a synagogue on a Sabbath. Because Luke’s Gospel takes the perspective of Mary the mother of Jesus, it should be understood that she was one of those referred to by the crowd and Jesus. Luke wrote of this event by saying:
“Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”’ (Luke 8:19-21)
These words of truth need to be realized as not having anything to do with the Holy Mother Mary or the brothers and sisters of Jesus (he had both, as Mary and Joseph had children together after Jesus was ten years old), as if they were not related to Jesus, even in a spiritual way. They simply could not get through the crowd and the rumor and murmur had drawn them there to find out what was happening. They wanted to speak with Jesus and they wanted to see that Jesus was okay, because they became concerned for his safety. Therefore, Jesus was not addressing them as physical beings, because there was familial relationship that could not be denied.
Before delving into the meaning of this reading from Matthew 12, I believe it is worthwhile pointing out that an Episcopalian will never hear these words read aloud in any of their churches. Not only are these words overlooked, but every word in Matthew’s chapter twelve is skipped over. Jesus going into a synagogue and healing on the Sabbath and being said to be of Beelzebub is omitted. In fact, the reading from Luke is also overlooked, with the Church only finding verses twenty-six to thirty-nine (Jesus restores a demon-possessed man) as worth knowing about. This is a Church that proudly boasts that the whole of the Holy Bible is read over a three-year lectionary cycle.
Thankfully, the Isaiah quote by Jesus is read during Epiphany 1A and Monday in Holy Week. The story of Jonah going to the Ninevites and being accepted as a prophet of the LORD is read on Epiphany 3B. So, indirectly, aspects of this story are hit upon. However, anyone who reads Scripture regularly and knows of this story, but wonders, “What does it mean?” are left to the Holy Spirit to guide their understanding.
The Roman Catholics do the same thing, with the exception of their totally leaving out Luke 8. Not only do they not read about Jesus saying, “Here is my mother, my sisters, and my brothers,” they do not read aloud about Jesus restoring a demon-possessed man. All of this ignorance begs the question, “Why?”
Jesus made other references to family that are questionable and confusing. A Holy Spirit-led priest should address all that has such difficulty grasping. In regards to that, Matthew 10:21-23 is also not addressed by the Episcopal or Roman Catholic lectionaries. Those verses say:
“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”
This touches on the same aspects stated in the Matthew 12 reading that I began with. However, the one reading that wraps around all of this is delivered aloud by both the Episcopal and Catholic churches, which is found in Luke 14:25-33. There it states:
“Many people were traveling with Jesus. He said to them: If you come to me but will not leave your family, you cannot be my follower. You must love me more than your father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters—even more than your own life! Whoever will not carry the cross that is given to them when they follow me cannot be my follower. If you wanted to build a building, you would first sit down and decide how much it would cost. You must see if you have enough money to finish the job. If you don’t do that, you might begin the work, but you would not be able to finish. And if you could not finish it, everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘This man began to build, but he was not able to finish.” If a king is going to fight against another king, first he will sit down and plan. If he has only 10,000 men, he will try to decide if he is able to defeat the other king who has 20,000 men. If he thinks he cannot defeat the other king, he will send some men to ask for peace while that king’s army is still far away. It is the same for each of you. You must leave everything you have to follow me. If not, you cannot be my follower.”
All of this brings out forcefully that God is not one who likes the phrase, “blood is thicker than water.”
According to Google, that phrase means, “relationships and loyalties within a family are the strongest and most important ones.” While that might be the standard guidepost of mortal existence, it goes against what is taught in all of these readings, which support one another, each adding an increased strength of detail to the others that might be lacking in crystal clarity. Further, these lessons taught by Jesus can be found supported in his parables, in particular the one about Lazarus and the rich man (a parable because it is “a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels” – Google).
That story is found in Luke 16:19-31. Rather than restate the whole story (because it is a fairly well-known story), I want to focus on the deaths of the rich man and Lazarus and the plea made by the rich man’s burning soul. That is found in verses twenty-seven to thirty-three. Those verses state:
“He [the rich man’s soul, burning in the fire of the great abyss] answered [the soul of Abraham, in heaven with Lazarus’ soul], ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.” “No, father Abraham,” he said, “but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.” [Abraham’s soul] said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”
Think about that for a moment, realizing that the “blood is thicker than water” phrase says that a human bloodline that considers itself to be thicker together (through wealth, influence, position, and power) than the common people that are held together in the poverty of simple water, they will always do what laws of profit the “family” mentality preaches, in order to maintain their worldly position as rulers and the elite. Even if Jesus of Nazareth were to walk up to them and say, “Repent and be saved eternally,” they would not listen. And, Jesus would rise from death, but the Sanhedrin plotted to explain that off as a body snatching. They did not heed that Spirit, before or after death.
From gathering these readings together, the thought occurred to me how the Episcopal Church does not commonly refer to each member as “brother” or “sister.” When I was raised in an Assemblies of God church, brother or sister was the title of respect given to each member, including the pastor, the assistant pastor, and their wives. Everyone was brother this (usually last name) or sister that. However, in churches where they routinely have monasteries and convents (nunneries) under their oversight, where the menfolk are called friars (from the French frere or the Latin frater, both meaning “brother”) and sisters (from the Latin soror, as a woman having taken simple vows), it could seem confusing to have a priest refer to a male in the pews as “brother.”
The whole concept of relationship that Jesus spoke of places focus on the flaws of a mortal existence. The “blood is thicker than water” is the assumption that those who share our genetics, through parentage, is a statement about a human level of life. Spirituality and the soul’s presence in a body of flesh is so overlooked that one can erroneously begin to think that some grand patriarch of a family tree is the source of all the souls that share the same blood. This is thought as flawed as is the clear statements and readings that say, “I baptize you with water, but one will come who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” Somehow, people get on their knees in reverence to some human being splashing water on a baby’s forehead, making people believe water touched by a priest is the Holy Spirit (from holy water).
There has come a human theology over the past number of decades that preaches the whole of humanity is related. Television commercials rarely show a normal couple, as past standards would have a man and a woman of the same race, with a child naturally born of them. Instead, abnormal couples are displayed as the “norm.” The propaganda is planned and that sets in motion an attempt to mix the races and eliminate the perceived hatred that comes from the differences of race. Homosexuality (a form of sterility) is projected on television as openly welcomed and natural, with children being easily obtained through the wonders of science or adoption (usually from some foreign country, so the child looks nothing like the adoptive parents). This is a theology of Man that influences mankind to turn away from the God of Moses.
This flaw can be seen as prophesied to fail, when Jesus said, “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.” While the context seems to limit this prophecy to those who would be of the same religion (Judaism), relative to the non-blood relationship of Jews, the same equally applies to the pretense of religious thought being behind this modern philosophy to make the whole world one religion – a worship of mankind as a deformation of God’s plan.
The failure is from not seeing that atheism can never win a battle over religion, as ad campaigns in the West will never sway the Jews, the Muslims, or the core Christians that strongly believe in their God(s) to change. Still, the end result of this plan is to persecute those who would be called “brothers” of Man, simply because they reject the propaganda. It is they who must keep moving from town to town, which sounds an awful lot like the migration of refugees around the world; and this fits the agenda of the atheist propagandists.
The meaning of Jesus replying to the news that his mother and brothers were “standing outside, wanting to speak to you” speaks volumes about the individual relationship one must establish with God, through Jesus. This concept has to be firmly grasped.
The Greek text that has been translated as, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you” is correct. Still, the words “exō hestēkasin , zētountes soi lalēsai” should be seen as importantly stating how all who “outside are standing,” where the soul-body union (a living being) is “external” to Jesus, “are making a stance” against a serious relationship to God. The root Greek word histémi is in the first person singular as ”I” is the key focus “to make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint; as I place myself, I stand.”
(Strong’s) The plural form then converts the “I” to many, who “are.” That is a statement of taking a stance for self-ego that stands externally to Jesus. Then, “zētountes” becomes the plural present participle representing those who “are,” saying (more properly) they are “seeking, searching for, desiring, requiring, or demanding” Jesus (“you” to them) “to speak.”
Anyone who wants Jesus “to speak” or “to talk” to them must first become one with Jesus, as Jesus reborn within (inside one’s being). Then, Jesus will speak as them, individually, as each will have become Jesus resurrected in the flesh, speaking for the Father via the Christ Mind. It does not matter how important someone external to Jesus seems to be to others, as the point made is human relationships (of the flesh) forces each individual to be separate entities from one another.
This is the foundation of Descartes philosophy “I think therefore I am,” where everyone else could be nothing more than an illusion, making I (the ego) become the god of one’s universe. Abraham told the rich man his “brothers” were just like him in their worship of self. He did not see the value of Lazarus as a human (a poor man of material means), so he was not asking Abraham to send Lazarus’ soul to help other Lazarus-type human beings.
The rich man only thought of those who needed to protect their wealth from their losses through death. The rich man’s soul still perceived the soul of Lazarus as a servant of the wealthy, just as it was in the physical realm, meaning his soul had learned nothing of truth.
The closest two human beings can pretend to become, relative to one being with another, is through marriage and the act of sex. The reality of a permanent union is less the physicality of two joining physically in that act, but the production of children that may come from such unions. Two are truly joined, inseparably as one, with the DNA of two parents joined into an individual child. Still, this limitation is human, or physical, and only a reflection of the mortality of human beings in the flesh. Jesus was not offering a bloodline as the way to heaven.
In the questions Jesus asked after being told there were important people outside, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” are mischaracterized. The translations as “Who” is the translation of the Greek words “Tis” and “tines.” The limitation of “who” leads one to question why Jesus would insult his mother and brothers, by acting like he did not know “who” they were. The better words to translate are “what” and “which” (viable alternate translations) where the question no longer relates to an individual or individuals of know relationship. Instead, the more widespread scope those words of question lead one to ponder is: What are the qualifications for familial relationship?
The Jews were the descendants of the tribes of Judah, Levi, Benjamin and Simeon (basically), as those of the Southern Kingdom that were defeated and driven into exile into Babylon. The tribes of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) were the descendants of lesser standing to the Jews of Jesus’ day. For instance, the Samaritans were seen as Israelites that interbred with their Gentile captors (the Assyrians), rather than be scattered in attempts to maintain a racial purity (as children of Israel). What Jesus said to the Jews of Galilee, who attended the Sabbath service at that synagogue Jesus had entered with his disciples, was (in effect), “It does not matter what one’s heritage is (Jew, Levite, Benjaminite, Simeonite, Samaritan, Herodian, Pharisee, Sadducee, Essene, Greek, Roman, or Gentile), as family tree and/or house of societal association is meaningless.”
That needs to sink in for a while. Ponder that and then realize that in Matthew’s twelfth chapter Jesus had said prior that a house divided cannot stand. Before that he said the value of a tree is found in its fruit. More than coincidence, one should see these points of focus were the parts of the story “soup” that would be served up nice and hot in the story of Jesus being told his mother and brothers had come to see him. There is nothing about human relationships and associations that allows one to claim to be related to God. One has to be the Son of God, reborn with the Christ Mind, if one wants to be found to be the mother, or sister, or brother of Jesus.
A tree is made up of branches that grow from a common root, but the fruit is not produced by the tree’s core. The flowers must be pollinated by flowers of another tree of the same species. Birds, bees, and the wind are the “spiritual” links between two trees. The fruit has its own seeds, from which new trees can be grown, but the “good fruit” will be eaten and transform into life-enhancing force. A human family tree is an illusion, as all fruit is a soul breathed by God into flesh, giving a soul the ability to experience life through mortality. In Descartes’ rationale, there is no tree, there is only the soul. The mistake it thinking oneself created it’s own soul. Therefore, bad fruit becomes those “brothers” (and “sisters”) that strive to put seed into the earth and produce more physical and material, regardless of how palatable and life-supporting that flesh is.
With that seen, flash forward to these modern times when humanity is all about the selfishness of mortality. Rather than synagogues for Jesus and his disciples to enter, the advent of Christianity has brought about churches. It is those buildings that are now the homes of those who do nothing to teach congregations of people to become Jesus reborn, instead leading their flocks to believe being reborn as the Son of God is the talk of Beelzebub. Jesus would say equally today, to those false shepherds of modern times:
“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:34-37)
Instead of the different types of citizens of Jerusalem (Judea) and Galilee, Christianity is divided into denominations, with each proclaiming the reason for those differences as being what makes them closer to God than the others. Most so-called “Christians” (like the Jews of old) are not inside the buildings they spend great deals of money on and place great values upon, but those lip-service Christians are clamoring around outside the churches. They love politics. They love philosophy. They love science. They love everything Man has to offer (pretty much).
The problem is they do not feel any need to go within themselves to find where Jesus and his disciples heal on the Sabbath and teach those true seekers the meaning of God’s Word. When Mother Mary and “the brothers” of Jesus Christ (his Saints) show up, today those are representative of the icons sold in shops by those profiting from religious paraphernalia. Even in the Episcopal Church, when readers stand at a podium and recite the songs of Mary or the letters of the Apostles (those “brothers in Christ”), as the mother and brothers of Jesus coming to talk for Jesus, Jesus is asking, “Who has given birth to me within themselves? Who are also the Sons of God (as Jesus resurrected – THE Son of God) through my resurrection within, so they can truly claim to be my brothers?”
The same social conditions that existed in Jesus’ day exist today. When Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,” that is still the case today. It never changes because it is THE Way of the world. When Jesus was asked by the young, rich man-ruler, “How can I be assured of going to heaven?” the same question applies now as then. That means the same answers equally apply: 1. Obey the Laws God gave to Moses; 2. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and 3. Then come, follow me.”
As to those three requirements, they should be grasped as stages or steps of personal development. If a high school student was to ask a high school counselor, “How can I be assured of being successful in the world?” the answer is never, “Close your eyes, make a wish, and click your heels together three times as you turn around.” Even those instructions come in stages or an order of instruction, but the point is nothing comes instantly, without hard work and stages of advancement.
As to obedience to the Laws, some of which Jesus mentioned specifically, it is impossible to obey the Laws of God when one does not understand what the words of those laws mean. Simple memorization will never allow one to truly follow the laws, as gray areas of doubt as to the meaning will constantly pop up, keeping one from obedience to the laws. Translations into languages that cannot capture the wholeness of the original words is extremely limiting in this regard towards understanding fully.
For instance, the First Commandment actually says (from the Hebrew), “Do not wear the face of any other gods before me,” where the Hebrew word “panaya” (from “panim,” meaning “face, faces, to face”) is condensed away to nothing in translation. The first order of the business of serving God is to stop being a little-g god before Him, in any shape, form, or idolatry your fleshy brain thinks is an equal to Yahweh.
Second, the “poor” (from the Greek word “ptóchos“) means “humble devout persons” (Strong’s), which means supporting the ministry of an Apostle is the second step. If Jesus did not mean that, then the “poor” would become as rich as the rich man and the rich man would have become as poor as the “poor,” with nothing good happening from simply an exchange of possessions or their value in currency. When Judas Iscariot complained about Mary Magdalene bringing out very expensive nard to rub on Jesus’ feet, Judas was taking that lesson given to the rich man wrong. Mary Magdalene was giving her possession to poor Jesus, who was most humble and devout. He made no money from his ministry, and Judas was the one who gathered the donations from those with money so the needs of many could be met. Judas, from that example of complaint about the law meaning forced sacrifice (while secretly stealing all one needs for oneself), the majority of Christians (just like most Jews in Jesus’ time) reflects perfectly how so many “believers” just give a pittance of their net worth to a denomination of “Christianity,” rather than giving all they have that is needed to help a true Apostle’s ministry.
The third step, the one that made the rich man hang his head and walk away, was Jesus telling him to “then come, follow me.” That was Jesus telling him to rid himself of all the worldly distractions that keep people from being reborn as Jesus Christ (giving birth to a new identity as “the mother” of Jesus). For as long as one surrounds oneself with material things as security crutches, because one is afraid of casting away from a lack of true faith, then one will never be ready to take the third stage of this journey and truly come to Jesus. Without that resurrection within, one could not also be called a Son of God, thus a brother “in Christ.”
Because human beings of true faith can be either males (“brothers”) or females (“sisters”), the last line of the reading above says, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” This is the first and only mention of “sisters,” such that the Greek word “adelphē” is a statement of human gender, matching that of “adelphos” (“brothers”). The addition of “sisters” then points to how “mother” has become last in this series, rather than first (as in the previous mentions, “mother and brothers”). In this summation, Jesus was saying that being reborn as Jesus Christ demands a human being recognize their expectation of God the Father is to become His wife (regardless of human gender) and then giving birth (being a “mother”) to God’s Son. This recognizes how Apostles (and Saints) can be both males (“brothers”) and females (“sisters”), as long as both sexes become the “mother” of Jesus Christ within their being of flesh. When in the name of Christ, there is true equality in males and females, when both have become resurrections of the Son of God.